On top of the world! Of toch bijna: de Taipei 101


Wie aan Taipei denkt, denkt waarschijnlijk ook aan die ene hoge toren die hier te vinden is. Hoe heette die ook alweer? Juist ja, de Taipei 101! Stel nu dat je er niet aan moest denken, dan ben ik hier om daar verandering in te brengen. Ik bezocht hem deze week voor de eerste keer, dus sit back and relax, want ik zal je wat meer vertellen over dit icoon.

Eerst en vooral de naam: in Taiwan zijn ze goed in namen geven aan plaatsen en gebouwen. Soms heb je de nodige fantasie nodig om het te zien, maar hier is het heel makkelijk. Benieuwd hoe de naam nu ontstaan is? Ontdek het hier!

On top of the world (or at least almost): Taipei 101


If you think about Taipei one of the first things that come to your mind is that one high building defining the skyline of the city. (At least for me it is💁🏼‍♀️) You know which one I mean: Taipei 101. Imagine you didn’t think about it, then here I am to change these thoughts! I visited the tower last week so sit back and relax because I will tell you something more about this beauty!

First of all: what’s in a name? In Taiwan, they are pretty good at imagining names for places and buildings. Sometimes you do need some imagination to see it, but here it is quite easy!

Taipei: the tower was built in Taipei
101: the tower has 101 floors (which equals 508 meters!)

Told you, it is easy! 💁🏼‍♀️

A serious building, don’t you think? 🔝

The construction started in 1999 and on new years eve 2014 there was an official opening event with an amazing fireworks show! That last one became a tradition because every year they welcome the new year with fireworks shot from the 101. As we will be here to celebrate the new year, I have to admit that I am looking forward to it! 🎇🎆

On top of the 101 visitors have access to two observatory decks which offer a beautiful view over the city. I thought the view would be quite good because the weather was very good that day. Unfortunately, there was a lot of smog so at some places, there was not that much to see. The outdoor deck was also closed in three out of four directions because there was a lót of wind.

Here are some pictures (with a lot of smog) in order from north to east, south, and west.

The beauty of this tower can also be found in the engineering work. Taiwan is located on two tectonic plates so an earthquake is never too far away. Plus: typhoons. They carry a lot of rain but also a lot of wind and that is something dangerous for these high buildings.

To minimize these risks they built an enormous damper from floors 87 to 92. This is a sphere made out of steel which weighs around 660 tonnes and has a diameter from 5,5 meters. In case of an earthquake, the damper moves in the opposite direction of the building to take over its energy.

The damper as seen from the 89th floor.

In August 2015, the sphere moved about 100 cm thanks to typhoon Souledor. I can not imagine, but it must have been crazy!


The Taiwanese love symbolism so you can find a lot of these elements in the Taipei 101. Most of them have to do with numbers from the Chinese culture.

101 floors: 100 equals perfection. By building 101 floors, they go one step beyond.
4 is bad luck: as some of us believe 13 is a number for bad luck, they have the same in the Chinese culture. Here they rather skip number 4 because its pronunciation sounds very much like ‘the death’. Floor 44 doesn’t exist in the Taipei 101, instead, they built floor 42, 42A, 43 and 45.
8 is a lucky number: the building has been designed out of 8 modules which consist each of 8 floors. The shape of these modules looks like padogas, which come from the Chinese culture.

Can you see the 8 modules?

Some fun facts about the Taipei 101:

On the 101st floor, there is a secret VIP-club. The idea is a bit the same as the 103rd floor of the Empire State Building where celebrities meet in an exclusive, secret little club. Online I found that in Taipei not only celebrities are allowed to have fun in this club, but normal people like us can get access too. The only thing you have to do is spend like 1 million NTD (+- 30.000 euros) in the shopping mall of the Taipei 101. You see, it is a piece of cake for normal people like us 🤦🏼‍♀️

Speaking of secrets, something I only discovered after I visited the 101. There should be a hidden Starbucks on the 35th floor. To go to the observation decks you have to pay 600 NTD which is almost 17 euros. In the Starbucks, you have to spend at least 200 NTD for a coffee with a view. You are allowed to stay a maximum of 90 minutes and the window seats are in high demand!

Until 2007 the Taipei 101 was the highest building in the world.

There are a lot of original ‘Instagrammable’ places to photograph the Taipei 101. This street is famous because they used the tiny restaurant on the right side in a movie.

Don’t you know which day it is? Just search for the Taipei 101 and check its color. (Really, from almost anywhere in the city, you can see the top of the building) Every night the top lights up in another color of the rainbow! On Monday you will see a red color, Tuesday is orange and Wednesday is a yellow day. Thursday is a day for green and on Friday you will see some blue in the sky. Saturday is a violet day and on Sunday the top is purple. 🌈

On which day did I take this picture? 🌈

Last but not least: once the Taipei 101 had the fastest elevators in the world. Now the Shanghai Tower in China wins this price, but believe me, it is still fast in Taipei. You reach the 89th floor in only 37 seconds which means the elevator goes up on a speed of 60,6 km/h. Luckily they included some pressure controlling technology to prevent your ears from popping. Oh, what I forgot to mention: in total there should be 61 elevators in the building. Impossible for us to find them all, but it is a fun fact to know!

Do you already feel like visiting this landmark? 😃

Bye bye!


Taipei’s hot spot: the Elephant Mountain Trail


You can see the mountains surrounding Taipei from almost any point in the city. One of these mountaintops is Elephant Mountain. (AKA  象山 or Xiangshan) The name refers to the shape of another hill you can see when standing on the top of Elephant Mountain. That hill should look like an Elephant. (FYI: I don’t see it 🤦🏼‍♀️)

You only have to walk like a few minutes away from downtown Taipei until you would imagine you’re in the jungle. These two worlds are so close to one another, it’s almost unbelievable. It takes only 20 minutes to reach the top of this trail. You don’t need hiking boots or other special equipment. I did the walk on my slippers (and I wasn’t the only one 😅) It seems easy and comfortable, but trust me. Once you’re on those steps, you’ll be soaked in sweat. Maybe it was so because we did the hike on a super hot day (34°C and a humidity of 70%), but feel free to change those 20 minutes to a sweaty 35 minutes 😉

Luckily on the way to the top, there are some stops with a pretty view. Take some time to chill, relax and enjoy the view. Take some pictures and you’ll be ready to go!

The stairs at the Xiangshan Hiking Trail

We started our trip at about 6 pm. There was enough light for the climb and so we hoped to enjoy a part of the golden hour.

Armed with my camera, a tripod, a bottle of water and a pair of slippers, we started our trail. When the stairs took their first turn, it seemed like you were hours away from the ‘big city life’.

Ten minutes later, we arrived at our first resting point. The sun was going down and golden hour it was! It rained a lot that afternoon, so it was good to see the sun for a moment.


In the meantime, it is possible to take pictures when sitting on the famous rock which is a real attraction. We didn’t cue because there was a long line and we wanted to reach the last viewpoint before all the pretty city lights were shining.

One mini-climb further you’ll find the third platform. A lot of photographers wait there a long time before sunset to make the perfect shot. We were (of course) a bit late 🤷🏼‍♀️, but some people were just standing there, playing games on their phones. So by taking their spot, we managed to take some pretty pictures of this even more spectacular city.


The two highest towers in this picture are:

Taipei 101: the highest building in Taipei (504 meters, 101 floors). The tower was opened on new years eve 2004 and defines the skyline of the city. The antenna on top is being called ‘the flame of the candle’. From 2003 until 2007 this building was also the biggest building in the world, until the Burj Khalifa the crown.
I have only visited the food court in the basement, but I’m planning on visiting the observatory deck too. It appears to be a place worth visiting, just as checking out the big steel pendulum that supports the building during earthquakes. (More on this beauty later on!)

Taipei Nan Shan Plaza: The second biggest building in Taipei and number three in Taiwan. If you’re standing in between the 101 and Nan Shan Plaza, it seems like have almost the same hight. On the picture above you can see that Nan Shan Plaza is much smaller than the 101. The building has 42 floors, which equals 272 meters.
A Japanese architect designed it. The building is designed in the shape of praying hands as a blessing over Taiwan.
In this tower you can also find a lot of offices, a food court and a shopping center.

At last, a fun fact about the Farglory Financial Center: the bright top in the middle of the picture. The building itself isn’t that special, but every night, you can see a heart-shaped animation playing at the top ❤️

A lot of other buildings are fancy hotels, apartments and offices. A lot of companies, banks and insurance companies have their headquarters in downtown Tapei

When we started our trip back home, the sun was already gone and it was pretty dark outside. Luckily the paths were lit, but sometimes, the flashlight on a smartphone came in handy.

We enjoyed the last viewpoint on our mini-trip and so our two-hour ‘hike’ came to an end.


The fun thing about this hike?

You really don’t need a lot of time to get into a whole new world (🧞‍♀️🧞‍♂️) (I enjoyed smelling the ‘green’ again after two weeks!) 
It’s free and you choose when you start the hike. (Even if you’re walking through the city on slippers and decide to start, it is possible! 😉)
You can go for a hike during the daytime or nighttime. Each time is a completely different experience. You don’t need to prepare for this hike (though, some water can come in handy 😅), and everyone is able to do the hike on its own pace.
Last but not least: everybody is soaked in sweat and huffing and puffing. No shame, it’s hot for everyone. 🤷🏼‍♀️

See you!


Op uitstap: Elephant Mountain Trail


Op bijna elk punt in de stad kan je de bergen zien die Taipei omringen. Een van deze toppen is de Elephant Mountain 🐘 (ook wel 象山 of Xiangshan genoemd). De naam refereert naar de vorm, het zou op een olifant lijken. (FYI: ik zie het niet)

Op slechts enkele minuten stappen van downtown Taipei waan je je in de jungle. De verschillende werelden liggen hier soms zeer dicht bij elkaar. In slechts 20 minuutjes kan je via de vele trappen de top van deze hiking trail bereiken. Moet je wandelschoenen dragen, of kan het op slippers? Slippers it is! Lijkt allemaal easy en comfortabel, maar geloof mij, in 34 graden en een luchtvochtigheid van … Amai zeg, zo spannend! Lees hier snel verder!